From Caribbean islands to Appalachian backcountry, many Gettysburg College students spent their spring break volunteering, developing professional and valuable life skills, and expanding their worldview.
The Center for Public Service sponsored five Immersion Projects over spring break, providing students with the opportunity to travel to distinct communities to examine issues of social justice. Students traveled to New York City to learn about LGBTQ rights, the Dominican Republic to study trade and labor laws and their real-life implications, Baltimore to witness urban education reform, Nicaragua to look at issues of education and literacy, and the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee to learn about ecological balance from the Snowbird Cherokee.
Melissa Rich ’14 was the Project Leader for the Immersion trip with the Snowbird Cherokee. After spending the preceding weeks prepping for the trip by researching Cherokee history and culture, and by learning about issues facing their community today, the group of students engaged in a cultural exchange.
Rich said, “We learned how to play a Cherokee game called The Fish Game, which was a traditional courtship game, and were taught about the role that the game plays in modern times to draw the community members together.”
Throughout the trip, lessons about environmental stewardship, conservation, and regulations were interwoven into the larger week-long program.
Four Eisenhower Institute programs met over Spring Break to transform political theories learned in the classroom into their real life applications. Three trips meeting in Washington, D.C. were Strategy and Leadership in Transformative Times (SALTT), Inside Politics, and Women in Leadership, with Environmental Leadership taking its first-ever week-long trip to the Caribbean island of Bonaire.
SALTT is a year-long program that meets monthly with Susan Eisenhower to discuss successful strategies to deal with and current issues surrounding nuclear energy. The students participating in this program spent a day over spring break meeting with experts in the field.
Mike Pipa ’16 said, “SALTT is about developing real world, long-term strategies. The discussions leading up to this trip that we’ve had both with Susan and our groups, as well as the literature we’ve been reading, really came full circle during this trip.”
Sarah Roessler ‘16 also attended the day-long trip, adding, “I learned that nuclear energy is an avenue for energy that America needs to explore even more. The insight I gained from hearing these professionals speak will help us understand nuclear energy and its full potential.”
The International Affairs Association Model UN club, advised by Globalization Studies professor Robert Bohrer, traveled to Belgrade, Serbia, to participate in the UN Association of Serbia's Belgrade International Model UN Conference. Of the 35 organizations participating in the conference, Gettysburg College was the only team representing the United States.
During the conference, the team discussed issues ranging from the future of Western Sahara, Human Rights, and the UN's Millennium Development Goals. According to Tana Giraldo ’14, these debates “not only further enhanced our skills of diplomacy and international relations to the students but it also opened our eyes to different perspectives.”
Giraldo continued, “After a successful conference, we are looking forward to continuing our dedication to global affairs and peaceful solutions to the issues facing our world today.”
The Gettysburg College Concert Choir (GCCC) completed its annual concert tour, this year nicknamed the Southern Plunge Tour, traveling from South Carolina to Virginia, and ending the tour in nearby Landsdale, Penn. Performing mostly in churches, the songs were both sacred and secular in nature, chosen for their themes of nature and love.
Mia Phillips ’16 participated in the tour, citing camaraderie that develops as her favorite aspect of the week-long trip. “We really become closer throughout the tour, and we can definitely tell that we perform better as the tour goes on. It makes each performance so much more personal.”
“It’s one thing to be invested in the music,” she concluded, “but it’s another to be invested in each other.”
The GRAB staff was hard at work over spring break, spending a week on Virginia’s Appalachian Trail, improving their proficiencies in everything from technical and risk management skills to effective teamwork strategies.
They did this by completing a 60-mile hike through rugged mountain terrain and executing a caving expedition that required the development of a ropes system that would enable the team to enter the cave.
“This is not just a camping trip,” Matt Lefler ‘14 said. “The institute is designed to give staff members the skills and experience to lead others in a backcountry setting. It also allows our group to become a closer unit.”
“I feel my ability to make game time decisions in a wilderness context has greatly improved and I have more confidence in my ability to lead large groups of people in a dynamic setting.”
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Contact: Nikki Rhoads, senior assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803
Article by: Kasey Varner '14, communications & marketing intern
Posted: Wed, 26 Mar 2014
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